Jeffrey LewisIraq Nuclear Scientist Publishes Memoir

Jafar Dia Jafar (right), a high ranking former Iraqi nuclear scientist, has written a Norwegian-language memoir, Oppdraget (The Assignment) about his years in the Iraqi nuclear weapons program.

Jafar confirms something that other Iraqi nuclear weapons scientists have suggested: “the quest for nuclear weapons began with Israeli warplanes bombing the legal Iraqi nuclear reactor at Tuwaitha, near Baghdad, where he had worked, in June 1981.”

Other memoirs by Iraqi nuclear weapons scientists include:

Jafar and another scientist have given interviews in foreign language newspapers:

  • Husayn al-Shahrastani, interview with Mu’add Fayyad, “Iraqi Nuclear Scientist Reveals Iraq’s Nuclear Installations, Capabilities,” Al-Sharq al-Awsat (London) (15 April 2001) FBIS-NES-2001-0415.
  • Jafar Dia Jafar, interview with Ali Baradi, “Al-Nahar talks to senior Iraqi nuclear scientist Ja’far Diya Ja’far: The United Nations agencies colluded with the Americans…,” Al-Nahar (Beirut) (11 March 2004) AFS-GMP-2004-03-10-000238.

The technical arguments in the memoirs related to possible uses of the nuclear reactor at Tuwaitha (also known as Osirak or Osiraq) are broadly supported by a three articles, two by IAEA officials and one by a professor who visited the reactor after the bombing:

  • Hans Gruemm, “Safeguards and Tammuz: Setting the Record Straight,” IAEA Bulletin 23:4 (December 1981) pp.10-14.
  • Christopher Herzig, “Correspondance: IAEA Safeguards,” International Security 7:4 (Spring 1983) pp.195-199.
  • Richard Wilson, “A Visit to the Bombed Nuclear Reactor at Tuwaitha, Iraq” Nature 302:31, (March 1983) pp.373-376.

I have copies of all (except the new Norwegian-language memoir), in case someone needs additional information.